Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Suzanne Westfall
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-465-3

    Copyright Suzanne Westfall. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Suzanne Westfall
    Not Peer Reviewed

    A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folio 1, 1623)

    Nights Dreame.

    1Actus primus.

    Enter Theseus, Hippolita, with others.
    NOw faire Hippolita, our nuptiall houre
    5Drawes on apace: foure happy daies bring in
    Another Moon: but oh, me thinkes, how slow
    This old Moon wanes; She lingers my desires
    Like to a Step-dame, or a Dowager,
    Long withering out a yong mans reuennew.
    10Hip. Foure daies wil quickly steep thẽselues in nights
    Foure nights wil quickly dreame away the time:
    And then the Moone, like to a siluer bow,
    Now bent in heauen, shal behold the night
    Of our solemnities.
    15The. Go Philostrate,
    Stirre vp the Athenian youth to merriments,
    Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth,
    Turne melancholy forth to Funerals:
    The pale companion is not for our pompe,
    20Hippolita, I woo'd thee with my sword,
    And wonne thy loue, doing thee iniuries:
    But I will wed thee in another key,
    With pompe, with triumph, and with reuelling.

    Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, Lysander,
    25and Demetrius.
    Ege. Happy be Theseus, our renowned Duke.
    The. Thanks good Egeus: what's the news with thee?
    Ege. Full of vexation, come I, with complaint
    Against my childe, my daughter Hermia.
    30Stand forth Demetrius.
    My Noble Lord,
    This man hath my consent to marrie her.
    Stand forth Lysander.
    And my gracious Duke,
    35This man hath bewitch'd the bosome of my childe:
    Thou, thou Lysander, thou hast giuen her rimes,
    And interchang'd loue-tokens with my childe:
    Thou hast by Moone-light at her window sung,
    With faining voice, verses of faining loue,
    40And stolne the impression of her fantasie,
    With bracelets of thy haire, rings, gawdes, conceits,
    Knackes, trifles, Nose-gaies, sweet meats (messengers
    Of strong preuailment in vnhardned youth)

    With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughters heart,
    45Turn'd her obedience (which is due to me)
    To stubborne harshnesse. And my gracious Duke,
    Be it so she will not heere before your Grace,
    Consent to marrie with Demetrius,
    I beg the ancient priuiledge of Athens;
    50As she is mine, I may dispose of her;
    Which shall be either to this Gentleman,
    Or to her death, according to our Law,
    Immediately prouided in that case.
    The. What say you Hermia? be aduis'd faire Maide,
    55To you your Father should be as a God;
    One that compos'd your beauties; yea and one
    To whom you are but as a forme in waxe
    By him imprinted: and within his power,
    To leaue the figure, or disfigure it:
    60Demetrius is a worthy Gentleman.
    Her. So is Lysander.
    The. In himselfe he is.
    But in this kinde, wanting your fathers voyce.
    The other must be held the worthier.
    65Her. I would my father look'd but with my eyes.
    The. Rather your eies must with his iudgment looke.
    Her. I do entreat your Grace to pardon me.
    I know not by what power I am made bold,
    Nor how it may concerne my modestie
    70In such a presence heere to pleade my thoughts:
    But I beseech your Grace, that I may know
    The worst that may befall me in this case,
    If I refuse to wed Demetrius.
    The. Either to dye the death, or to abiure
    75For euer the society of men.
    Therefore faire Hermia question your desires,
    Know of your youth, examine well your blood,
    Whether (if you yeeld not to your fathers choice)
    You can endure the liuerie of a Nunne,
    80For aye to be in shady Cloister mew'd,
    To liue a barren sister all your life,
    Chanting faint hymnes to the cold fruitlesse Moone,
    Thrice blessed they that master so their blood,
    To vndergo such maiden pilgrimage,
    85But earthlier happie is the Rose distil'd,
    Then that which withering on the virgin thorne,
    Growes, liues, and dies, in single blessednesse.